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Explore Plockton with Kiley Dunbar

  • Submitted: 8th June 2020

Spend Summer at the Highland Coral Beach

Explore Plockton with Kiley Dunbar – We all need an escape so why not head to the Scottish Highlands and the GORGEOUS village of Plockton in the Scottish Highlands. Kiley Dunbar has taken it and made it her own, calling it Port Willow and weaving her magic to create a perfect literary location.

BookTrail the locations in Summer at the Highland Coral Beach

Summer at the Highland Coral Beach

Summer at the Highland Coral Beach

BookTrail the locations in Summer at the Highland Coral Beach

My latest romantic novel Summer at the Highland Coral Beach is set in my version of Plockton (I rename it Port Willow) in Wester Ross in the Scottish Highlands. Plockton is a beautiful nineteenth century fishing village overlooking Loch Carron. The sheltered bay has been a tourist hotspot for decades long before it became famous the world over as the setting for TV series Hamish Macbeth.

So, let’s Explore Plockton with Kiley Dunbar….

A morning walk in Plockton (c) Kiley Dunbar

A morning walk in Plockton (c) Kiley Dunbar

BookTrail the locations in Summer at the Highland Coral Beach

I visited Plockton in August 2018 and stayed for a glorious week in one of the many holiday rental cottages along the front. It was perfect for flying kites at low tide and clambering aboard the seal watching boat trip from the jetty. Oh, and for eating delicious fish and chips sat on the sea wall.

Plockton

Plockton is important to me for so many reasons, not only was it the perfect spot for a family holiday (me, my husband, our two kids, granny and grandad and Amos the Bedlington), but it was where my writing career began. Whilst on holiday I received an email from Hera Books. They were asking me to send more chapters from the novel (my first) I was hoping to get published at the time. I remember sitting in the cosy holiday cottage looking out over the water and hitting ‘send’ on the email, praying they’d sign me, which two months later they did!

The Coral Beach (c) Kiley Dunbar

The Coral Beach (c) Kiley Dunbar

BookTrail the locations in Summer at the Highland Coral Beach

One of the highlights of our trip was a day spent at the Coral Beach near Plockton. Although it’s in easy walking distance of the village we had the kids, dog, a picnic, fishing nets and all the other stuff you need for a family day at the beach so we drove following directions to a little parking area and set out walking over a very muddy path through gorse and rocks.

The clamber down to the beach, though tricky in parts, was well worth it as we emerged onto a deserted bay overlooking crystal clear, perfectly still water. I kicked my shoes off and immediately regretted it. The ‘coral’ the beach consists of, while looking beautifully golden and glaring in the August sun like tropical sand, is actually made of fossilised and sun-bleached algae –stunning to look at; like razor blades to stand on.

 Kiley Dunbar swimming off the Coral Beach at Plockton (c) Kiley Dunbar

Kiley Dunbar swimming off the Coral Beach at Plockton (c) Kiley Dunbar

BookTrail the locations in Summer at the Highland Coral Beach

I couldn’t resist the lure of the water and took a dip. Swimming out towards the few sailboats on the horizon I knew that this secluded, magical place would be the perfect setting for a romance novel and the seeds for Summer at the Highland Coral Beach were sown.

In the novel, my characters encounter the cattle that regularly cross through the beach, just as we did (we ended up forced onto the rocks as they barrelled past – and I recreate this scene in the book).

 

The cattle on the Coral Beach near Plockton. (c) Kiley Dunbar

The cattle on the Coral Beach near Plockton. (c) Kiley Dunbar

BookTrail the locations in Summer at the Highland Coral Beach

My hero and heroine Atholl and Bea also take a day trip to the Isle of Skye for a picnic by the fairy pools, and we also spent a day’s recce on the island. Driving over the Skye road bridge from Kyle of Lochalsh to the village of Kyleakin the views were spectacular.  I really began to feel how remote we were. East Lothian (where I grew up) and South Cheshire (where I live now) felt a million miles away.

 Black Cuillin near Glen Brittle

Once there, we headed straight for the fairy pools at the foot of the magnificent Black Cuillin near Glen Brittle. We parked the car and then headed off on foot following the late summer crowds.  Soon, despite the muddy walk, we were amongst the first of the waterfalls and deep, clear pools, perfect for wild swimming.

Skye’s fairy pool path (c) Kiley Dunbar

Skye’s fairy pool path (c) Kiley Dunbar

Not suprisingly, we spent a long time sitting by one pool with little tiered waterfalls running into it. We sat watching for fairies amongst the long grass and wildflowers.  I’m fairly sure we caught a glimpse of one.

Yes we are Kiley! (c) Kiley Dunbar

Yes we are Kiley! (c) Kiley Dunbar

Other special moments included picking ripe brambles growing in our cottage’s garden to bake a loaf cake, a night listening to folk music and eating locally reared steaks. Then, there was sipping Highland craft ale in a busy pub along the front. We even watched the trains snake alone the coast coming in to Plockton’s little station. Being welcomed like a local at a craft fair and coffee morning at the village hall was also very special.

Kiley Dunbar on an early morning walk in Plockton, (c) Kiley Dunbar

Kiley Dunbar on an early morning walk in Plockton, (c) Kiley Dunbar

Needless to say, I have fictionalised a lot of Skye and Plockton. The Princess and the Pea Inn with its towering fairytale bed, the riptide Atholl and Beatrice get caught up in, the craft school above the coral beach, and the Harvest Home ceilidh are all the work of my imagination. I hope I’ve managed to capture the beauty and wild wonder of the area that keep bringing visitors back time and again.

 

BT: Oh thank you so much Kiley! I’ve been to Plockton many times and remember the Highland Coos I saw there. Happy Days to return in your lovely book!

 

BookTrail Boarding Pass: Summer at the Highland Coral Beach

Twitter: @KileyDunbar

 

 

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